Goodbye Whangarei - anchored overnight in the Bay of Islands
Position 35:14.15 S 174:10.13 E
Date Tuesday 05 May 2015 - 1945 (UTC+11) local time New Zealand
Distance run 74nm over the ground, 74nm through the water
The great planned departure date arrived and with all bills paid and farewells presented we were ready for the first bridge opening of the day at 0845 which providentially coincided with high water. The standing water followed by the ebb would speed us the 14nm down to Whangarei Heads and with minimum depths in the upper reaches of 3.5m at HW, and a range of 2m the advice of arriving and departing an hour each side of HW proves correct, unless you have a very shallow draft.
Riverside Drive Marina and Caduceus on the right and the Lower Hatea Bridge on the mid left. An aerial perspective at mid tide.
Breakfast and coffee were taken as we motored or way seaward. The new autopilot was initialised with a number of 360 degree pirouettes which kept the small craft fishing guessing.
We set off with a view of getting as far as the conditions would allow. The conditions provided the inevitable wind, not quite on the nose with the promise of stronger northerlies on Wednesday so we motor sailed and pressed on with object of getting into the Bay of Islands for the night. On the basis that it gets dark in these parts at this time of year about 1830 we did well to round Cape Brett after 60nm just as dark was falling. Rather than try and get into the Opua Marina in the dark we headed for Roberton Island where there is an open bay sheltered from the swell and northerly winds.
Roberton Island provided a great overnight anchorage with an easy approach in the dark
Nothing in sailing is entirely easy. The craft pictured below which I believe to be a floating guesthouse and restaurant was in the bay at anchor with all lights blazing. As we felt our way in carefully it started to move and provided an interesting hazard as it meandered across our path and re-anchored a little way out. I do not suppose anyone on board even knew that we were there. It did leave a good open anchoring spot for us.